Running a small or solo law practice presents a multitude of challenges that are unique to this particular industry. Most lawyers, when branching out on their own, expect to come face-to-face with adversity on all fronts: building a clientele, finding affordable office space, implementing a compliant IT infrastructure, general operations management, and—of course—staffing their firm with support staff and lawyers. But there are a lot of challenges that entrepreneurial lawyers simply aren’t prepared for.
With over 20 years of experience in legal recruiting and staffing, we can say this with confidence: there are more challenges in this area of small law management than you may think. And your firm’s success is directly dependent on your ability to overcome these challenges.
Some common (but oftentimes unexpected) legal staffing challenges include:
Technology: Technology is always advancing, seemingly everyday. But it’s not the technology itself that is the challenge: most small law firms will leverage an IT system that enables them to produce documents, perform research and file court documents in an efficient manner. The challenge with technology is deciding which members of your team should be trained to use it! Lawyers may expect paralegals or support staff to deal with paperwork, even though it may make more sense for them to learn the systems themselves.
Legal Recruiting: What is your firm doing to find and recruit top paralegals or lawyers? Going to tier 1 law schools and fighting for attention alongside bigger and more-attractive-on-paper law firms? Stop wasting your time—at Hiring & Empowering Solutions, our Smart Hire Solution™ process leverages the power of a database that shows us when top lawyers or support staff leave their jobs, enabling us to act quickly to recruit the best-of-the-best team members for your firm. Recruiting is time consuming, and time is money: partnering with a legal staffing company like ours can free up your firm’s leaders to focus on what they do best: client relationship management and new business generation.
Employee Training & Development: Great, your firm has a team of talented people who are passionate about law and work well together. But, especially at a small law firm, you need your team to have a more well-rounded set of business skills. You need them to be at least a little competent in basically all areas of running a business. Employee training & development programs, like our Team Empowerment Academy, allow small firms to equip their teams with the tools and techniques they need to truly manage a business. Our program is 100% virtual, with weekly master classes and a series of over 200 workshops designed to empower your team members and turn them into effective leaders.
Employee Retention: Have you thought about how your law firm is going to keep its staff happy, year after year? Most small firms can’t offer the huge salaries, bonus programs and benefits packages that larger firms can offer. But we’ve found that team members are sometimes even more excited about non-monetary benefits: more paid time off, the flexibility to work from home, even a special parking spot to thank them for a job well done. If you’re not expressing appreciation for your team, another firm will. Don’t let that happen.
Outsourced Legal Services vs. Full-Time: Your firm landed more cases than usual—maybe a big fee case, or a case that you’ve “sorta” marketed and actually landed. Great news, right? Not necessarily. In our experience, most attorneys freeze, go into analysis paralysis mode, feel they need to sign up for a legal-technical course to get every possible fact pattern, and spin their wheels for weeks before they actually start working on the case. By the time they finally begin work, they’ve lost credibility and integrity with the client, and are feeling stressed they they’re going to be fired and asked for a refund, or worse, that the client will file a grievance to the bar. So, how are you actually planning to get the job done? Is outsourcing to a credible service the best approach, or should your firm go all-in and hire a new attorney, paralegal or legal assistant? Outsourced legal services may be appealing for what you perceive to be a temporary position, but the right person can grow a “one and done” case into something much, much bigger (and more profitable)! If you’re on the fence between outsourced legal services and a full-time employee, schedule a free consultation and we’ll brainstorm the best solution with you!
Whether you’re just beginning the process of going out on your own, or you already run a small or solo law practice, there will always be unexpected staffing challenges waiting to take you by surprise. The good news is that Hiring & Empowering Solutions can help with most of them. There is no challenge that your small law firm can’t overcome with a little help from our team of legal staffing experts. Contact us today to talk about whatever challenges your firm is currently facing—chances are, we can help.